The Virgin of Guadalupe emerged in Spain around 1300 AD to 1500 AD after the fall of the Moors and has risen to become a very important image among the Chicano and Mexican women. The virgin of Guadalupe has been represented in many ways by many artists, showing the different conceptions that are held of the Virgin of Guadalupe.
Traditionally, the Virgin of Guadalupe is represented as quite a young woman that has the moon beneath her and wears a blue veil that is full of stars, and radiance emanates from her. In the artwork, she is depicted as humble, righteous, and submissive being with the skin of olive color, folded hands, and downcast eyes, reflecting the church’s image and reinforcing submissive roles expected of female gender as well as heterosexual and only religious-sanctioned unions. Therefore, the traditional meaning that is associated with the Virgin of Guadalupe is that of a passive, humble, and submissive woman, which reflected the role of women in the past society.
In the top right image of the Virgin of Guadalupe, Antonia Garcia represents the Virgin radiant with fire around her and a man kneeling before her. This representation shows the revolution of the Virgin of Guadalupe from a passive virgin to an active and powerful revolutionary. In essence, the man kneeling before her shows the status those women achieve in the society aided by the power of the Virgin of Guadalupe.
In the third presentation, bottom left, the painter is featured in the running shoes. He holds a snake in one hand and the blue veil of Guadalupe in the other. The painter tramples on the fallen angel, who is traditionally shown to hold the Virgin of Guadalupe aloft. This may be taken to mean a defeat of the Virgin as a powerful being.
The fourth presentation shows digitally changed photograph of a Chicano woman dressed in garlands made of foliage and roses that cover her breasts. The Chicana in this artwork stands with her arms akimbo and gazes at the viewer. She is lifted by a bear breasted woman. This representation expresses the beauty of women and their bodies as given to them by the Virgin. It is taken to represent beauty of the Virgin of Guadalupe (Brading).
The Raft of Medusa
The original work of The Raft of Medusa was done by Theodore Gericault, who lived in the period of 1791-1834. The work represented an event that happened during the time of the artist’s life. The work was incorporated by Klara Walker in an artistic appropriation. The painting was done in relation to the shipwreck that occurred when the French colonists were being ferried to Senegal. The ship was called Medusa, and the painting reflects the moment when the survivors were being rescued.
Walker uses the art to show what happened the moment when the ship was sinking. While in the original artwork, the moment captured was during the rescue of the survivors, in this particular artwork, Walker captures the moment when the ship was sinking. She uses the art to capture the emotions of the passengers on board. She shows the hopefulness of humans as some pray for rescue and hope to survive. The tranquility of the moment is shown when some passengers fall in the sea, ultimately capturing the attention of the audience of the art. The artist makes reference to this particular work in order to spread the same messages that the artwork was used to spread back in time. The artwork had political implications as well as humanitarian crises. It showed the suffering of the poor due to political negligence and impunity. Walker, therefore, employs the artwork to convey similar lessons to the audience.